By Axel Reiserer
The EBRD has acquired a 6.25 per cent stake in Nova Ljubljanska banka d.d. (NLB), Slovenia’s largest bank.
The acquisition was made in the first phase of NLB’s privatisation during which the government of Slovenia sold 59.1 per cent of the bank in a public offering of shares.
Based on the final offer price, the market capitalisation of NLB will be approximately €1 billion at the start of trading on the prime market of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange and the main market of the London Stock Exchange on 14 November.
The EBRD became the second largest institutional investor in NLB. The EBRD was previously a shareholder in NLB between 2002 and 2008.
Lucyna Stańczak-Wuczyńska, EBRD Director, Financial Institutions, EU Banks, said: “This is a major and very welcome moment in the development of NLB and the Slovenian banking sector. NLB’s first step to return to private ownership and a successful public offering of shares demonstrate the strong restructuring and recovery of the bank. Equally important, it will strengthen further operational improvements and prudent growth which will benefit the bank’s commercial and retail customers.”
The offering of shares in NLB comes in response to the commitment of the Republic of Slovenia undertaken as part of the restructuring plan of NLB agreed with the European Commission in 2013 when the state aid contribution was approved, as later amended. While the Slovenian state is to keep a stake of 25 per cent plus one share, it committed to sell at least 50 per cent plus one share this year, and any outstanding share of up to 75 per cent minus one share by the end of next year.
NLB is the largest Slovenian bank holding approximately 23 per cent of total banking assets in Slovenia. NLB provides universal banking services and has a strong presence through its core subsidiaries in five south-east European countries. NLB has 349 branches, approximately 6,000 employees and 1.8 million active customers.
The EBRD signed its first project in Slovenia in 1991 and has invested nearly €1 billion in 82 projects in the country to date. The Bank’s activities cover all areas of the economy but are especially strong in the infrastructure, corporate, financial institutions and energy sectors.